Cruise the aisles of any tackle shop and you’ll see a myriad of new swimbait offerings that match the hatch. And for good reason: There’s nothing more effective than something that looks like sashimi when bass are feeding on baitfish.
But that’s where the similarities end. Sure, in one way or another they all look like shad, shiners and young-of-the-year, but the rubber hits the road when you dunk them in the drink.
Largely dissatisfied with the action and underwater behavior of current paddle-tail swimbaits, EVOLVE Fishing Co.’s lead designer, Derek Carr, set out to build a better bass trap.
“More than a decade ago bass pros discovered a few key Japanese paddle-tail swimbaits. They are still some of the best on the market, hands down. American bait shapes, at the time, just couldn’t compare. But I knew we could create an even better paddle-tail, a bait that would thump much louder, shimmy and roll, and offer better hookup ratios — all at the same time,” says Carr.
“And I wanted to make sure it was injected with primarily virgin plastic to remain rugged. We’re now able to tell customers you can expect as many as 8 to 10 hookups on a bait before it’s too beat up to perform.”
The result is EVOLVE’s DarkStar Swimmer, a 5-inch paddle-tail swimbait with a one-of-a-kind dual groove design that allows easier rigging and fast, high probability hooksets as the body collapses easily in a fish’s mouth. The DarkStar’s flat sides and unique body break and bulbed, tapering tail section produce a wobble that triggers hard aggression bites. Also, its oversized tail activates at the slowest retrieves, creating more thump than The White Stripes. Best of all, it slices through vegetation with laser-like tracking.
The rigging possibilities are varied, but important for optimal performance. Two of Carr’s favorites are weedless Texas rigging with a 5/0 screw-lock keel-weighted EWG hook and as a trailer on swim jigs.
“Rigged weedless, on a keel-weighted swimbait hook, the DarkStar is like the Navy Seal of swimbaits. It extracts deeply embedded bass from heavy grass, wood, brush… the same nasty places places where you’d pitch or flip, but with the DarkStar you can cover so much more water, and faster. And it seems like bass are less conditioned to this bait in those areas, leading to some impressive catches when nothing else works.”
Likewise, the DarkStar makes a winning swim jig trailer that not only produces a big thump, but actually imparts action to the entire jig, creating a slight roll that activates the skirt silicone, creating a combo that more closely resembles baitfish.
“Although a lot of anglers think of swim jigs as a spring and summer pick, as bass begin feeding heavily on baitfish in fall a light or dark baitfish color scheme swim jig and DarkStar can be a lights-out producer,” says Carr. “Another fall rigging tip is using the DarkStar as a trailer on spinnerbaits. That produces in many locations across the U.S.”
Beyond these two go-to rigging methods, anglers have reported that the DarkStar is also dangerous on a jig head — and for more species than just bass. Bass Elite pro Clark Reehm says it’s the perfect rigging solution for deep, open water and hard bottom structure bass.
The EVOLVE DarkStar Swimmer is currently available as a 5-inch “big fish” bait in nine colors, including baitfish-mimicking Icy Shad, Hot Fish, Arkansas Copper, Slick Shad and Ayu Gold. Baits are sold in packs of four with a suggested retail price of $4.49. Each bait sits in its own tray so you can be sure all the baits are actually fishable — no deformed baits here.
Image and video courtesy EVOLVE Fishing Co.